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Posts Tagged ‘mele’

MeLE PCG02U Ubuntu TV Stick is Now Available for $70

April 26th, 2016 6 comments

MeLE unveiled Start Cloud PCG02U Ubuntu TV stick powered by Intel Atom Z3735F processor with 1 to 2GB RAM and 32 GB flash a few weeks ago. The TV stick is a variation of PCG02 TV stick running Windows 10, but featuring an Ubuntu orange case, and running Ubuntu 14.04. The company has now launched the 2GB RAM version for $69.99 shipped on their Aliexpress store.

PCG02U_Ubuntu_TV_Stick

MeLE PCG02U specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F  “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz / 1.83 GHz with Intel HD graphics Gen 7 (2W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot up to 128 GB
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with external antenna
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB port (for power only)
  • Misc – Power button, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port.
  • Dimensions – 115 x 49 x 16.5 mm

The TV stick ships with Ubuntu 14.04.4. Since HDMI audio drivers have now been ported to mainline Linux for Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processors, it should be easier to upgraded than before when such TV sticks would have to be stuck with Linux 3.16. I’m not sure what exact image MeLE is using there, or if they have done anything themselves on the software side, but Linuxium has very recently released a Ubuntu 16.04 image for Bay Trail mini PCs so it should definitively be possible to upgrade to a newer version on PCG02U too.

PCG02U_Ubuntu_mini_PCI’ve never reviewed PCG02 myself, but their earlier MeLE PCG01 TV stick had very good build quality. Provided they’ve kept the name components, the company has also gone very aggressive with PCG02U pricing, as MeLE PCG02 (Windows 10) is now selling for $145 on Aliexpress.

Via AndroidPC.es

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MeLE StarCloud PCG61U Ubuntu Mini PC is Powered by Intel Braswell Celeron Processor

April 12th, 2016 2 comments

So far, most Chinese manufactures of Intel based mini PCs simply ignored Linux distributions, with Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 the only game in town. However, a few days ago, we found out about MeLE PCG02-U TV stick running Ubuntu on Intel Atom Z3735F processor, but the company appears to now taking Ubuntu more seriously as they are now promoting two other Ubuntu products with PCG01-U TV stick, and MeLE StarCloud PCG61U Braswell mini PC at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair.

MeLE_PCG61-UThe product is not finalized, but the main specifications are already known:

  • SoC – Intel Braswell Celeron processor @ 1.6 to 2.08 GHz with 12 EU Gen8 Graphics, likely Celeron N3150 processor (6W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2, 4 or 8 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32, 64 or 128 GB internal storage, or HDD/SSD slot, SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI & VGA
  • Audio – HDMI, microphone and earphone jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – USB 3.0
  • Expansion – mini PCIe slot(s)

The video below shows the two TV sticks, and quick mention of the mini PC.

Mass production of MeLE PCG61-U is expected at the end of May, so the tiny computer will likely ship with Ubuntu 16.04 scheduled to be released at the end of April. Contrary to systems based on Bay Trail and Cherry Trail processors which have their set of issues with Linux, Braswell mini PCs such as MINIX NGC-1 runs Linux distributions fairly well, and Linuxium reported features such as WiFi, audio and Bluetooth all worked out of the box with an Ubuntu installation from the standard ISO file.

Price has not been decided yet, and will depend on memory and storage options.

Via NetbookItalia

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MeLE PCG02U Intel Bay Trail TV Stick Runs Ubuntu, Costs $59

April 8th, 2016 18 comments

Once I asked MeLE if they planned to sells Bay Trail Ubuntu mini PCs, and they did not really seem interested, but the company has now changes their mind, as they are about to launch PCG02U TV stick powered by Intel Atom Z3735F processor with 1GB RAM, and 32GB flash for $59, which is likely to be the factory price, not the retail price.

PCG02U_Ubuntu_TV_Stick

MeLE PCG02U specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F  “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Bust freq: 1.83 GHz) with Intel HD graphics Gen 7 (2W TDP)
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with external antenna
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB port (for power only)
  • Misc – Power button, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port.
  • Dimensions – N/A

These specifications are very similar to MeLE PCG02 TV stick running Windows 10, except the memory has been decrease to 1GB, and the case is now Ubuntu Orange. A version with 2GB RAM will also be available for $69. Charbax got a short demo with the stick at MeLE office.

Some other manufacturer such as MeegoPad also provided Ubuntu TV sticks, but they simply loaded images made by Linuxium, and not even the latest one. We’ll have to see what MeLE provides, and the retail price. For reference, Ubuntu PCG02 with 2GB RAM now sells for $98.60 including shipping and a Windows 10 license, so I’d expect the Ubuntu version to be slightly cheaper since it does not include the Windows 10 “mini PCs” license, and the version with 1GB RAM to be even cheaper.

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MeLE Star Cloud PCG60 Plus Cherry Trail Mini PC Comes with HDMI and VGA Outputs, Gigabit Ethernet and More

January 19th, 2016 14 comments

Most Cherry Trail mini PCs on the market features only one video interface, usually HDMI, and only support 10/100M Ethernet. After introducing MeLE PCG03 Plus a few months ago, MeLE is about to launch a new Cherry Trail mini PC called Start Cloud PCG60 Plus that includes both HDMI and VGA video output, two USB 2.0, but also faster networking thanks to Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac.

Click to Enlarge

MeLE PCG60 prototype, the final product will include a grey/silver WiFi antenna – Click to Enlarge

MeLE Star Cloud PCG60 specifications (highlights in bold show improvements over MeLE PCG03 Plus):

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.84 GHz (Turbo) with Intel HD Gen8 graphics
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SD card slot up to 128 GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, and VGA
  • Audio I/F – HDMI, 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 host ports
  • Misc – Power Button, standby and activity LEDs
  • Power Supply – 12V/1A
  • Dimensions – 110 x 110 x 38 mm (Metallic case)
The fanless system run Windows 10 Home 64-bit with a proper license, as MeLE is one of Microsoft’s IP license partners. The company showcased both MeLE PCG03 Plus and PCG60 at CES 2016. Please note since the event, PCG60 has been renamed to PCG60 Plus.

MeLE’s representative says MeLE PCG60 Plus will be available at the end of the month, but that should be to distributors and resellers, and the company told me that the mini PC will be listed for $169 on Aliexpress in March.

Via Netbook Italia and AndroidPC.es

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MeLE PCG03 Plus mini PC Gets Cherry Trail x5-Z8300 Processor

October 12th, 2015 1 comment

Beside MeLE PCG02 TV stick with Ethernet, MeLE also showcased an upgraded version of its MeLE PCG03 mini PC with MeLE PCG03 Plus replacing Atom Z3735F processor with a more recent Intel Atom “Cherry Trail” x5-Z8300 processor.
MeLE_PCG03_Plus
MeLE PCG03 Plus specifications show they’ve only changed the processor:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8300 “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz (Bust freq: 1.84 GHz) with Intel HD Gen8 graphics
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4, and VGA
  • Audio I/F – HDMI, 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host
  • Misc – Power Button, power LED, Kensington security lock
  • Power Supply – 12V/1A
  • Dimensions – 150 x 120 x 40 mm

Cherry_Trail_VGA_Output

There should be some performance improvements over the previous model, but nothing phenomenal. MeLE PCG03 Plus will ship with Windows 10 Home (activated), and sell for $149 shipped before the end of the year. [Update: You can now buy MeLE PCG03 Plus on Aliexpress]

Via Netbook Italia

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MeLE PCG02 Intel TV Stick Features an Ethernet Port

October 12th, 2015 3 comments

I’ve previously reviewed MeLE PCG01 TV stick powered by Intel Atom Z3735F, and found it to be well designed, without overheating issues, so that this Intel TV stick performed just as well as as bigger mini PCs. NotebookItalia found out that the company is now about to launch a new version at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair 2015. MeLE PCG02 is still based on the same Bay Trail processor, but it interestingly comes with an Ethernet port rarely found on TV sticks.

MeLE_PCG02Apart from the extra Ethernet port taking the place of one USB port, the specifications are pretty similar:

  • SoC – Intel Atom Z3735F  “Bay Trail” quad core processor @ 1.33 GHz (Bust freq: 1.83 GHz) with Intel HD graphics Gen 7 (2W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 32 GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with external antenna
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB port (for power only)
  • Misc – Power button, Kensington lock
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port.
  • Dimensions – N/A

The stick looks much slimmer in the video compared to the picture, and sticks seem to be getting larger and larger…

The device is pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home (Activated), and will start selling in November for $119 shipped. A Cherry Trail version is also planned.

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A Look at Android and Windows Mini PCs’ Power Consumption in Power Off, Standby, Idle, and Video Playback Modes

September 22nd, 2015 18 comments

I’ve previously measured power consumption of Amlogic S812 and Rockchip RK3288 based TV boxes using a multimeter. This provides relatively accurate measurements, as well as neat power consumption profiles of devices, but it’s a little complex and time-consuming, so it’s not something I would do for all devices. The easiest way to measure power consumption is to use a kill-a-watt type of device, but my first one broke after only 3 months last year.  I purchased a new one recently, so I run run some power measurement tests on several devices.

Tronsmart_Orion_R68_Power_Consumption
I selected five devices for this test:

The procedure used the device’s power supply, and I connected an HDMI cable, and MeLE F10 RF dongle to the device only.  The devices were connected to the network over WiFi, except for Open Hour Chameleon, where I had to use Ethernet, since the device does not include WiFi. The video output was set to 1080p60 for all devices.

The power consumption was measured for five different scenarios:

  1. Power Off mode, after shutdown (when available)
  2. Standby/Sleep mode (when available)
  3. Idle mode, a few minutes after boot.
  4. 1080p60 video – bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_normal.mp4 video playback in “Movie & TV” app in Windows, or MX Player in Android using a SAMBA server
  5. 1080p60 video in Kodi – bbb_sunflower_1080p_60fps_normal.mp4 video playback in Kodi 14.x or 15.x (depending on pre-installed version in firmware) using a SAMBA server

I did not change any settings in the video players before playback, and AFAIK all of them used hardware video decoding.

Power Off Standby/Sleep Idle 1080p60 Video 108060 Video in Kodi
MeLE PCG01 0.4W 5.2~6.0W 3.2~4.2W 4.0~5.2W 7.1~8.2W
Zidoo X9 0.3W N/A 7.4~8.4W 8.2~9.2W 9.2~10W
Open Hour Chameleon N/A 1.2W 3.4W 5.2~6.0W 5.0~5.4W
Tronsmart Orion R68 0W 2.0~2.4W 3.0~3.2W 3.3~4.0W 5.0~5.4W
Tronfy MXIV 1.2W 3.0~3.2W 3.0~3.4W 4.4~5.3W 6.1~7.4W

I’ve also drawn a chart for all five tests and devices using the average value.

Low_Power_mini_PCs_Power_ConsumptionPower off, when implemented, is usually working as it should, with the devices consuming between 0 and 0.4 Watt, but for some reasons Tronfy MXIV’s power off mode power consumption is a little higher at 1.2 Watts. However, standby / sleep mode power consumption is rather on the high side, except for Open Hour Chameleon, and in the case of MeLE PCG01, you’d even waste energy by going into Sleep mode, based on the results I got. I waited a few minutes to make sure, but power consumption stayed in the 5.2 to 6.0 Watts range.

The only Intel device actually did pretty good, against its ARM based competitors, and it’s Zidoo X9 that has the worst power consumption, which may or may not due extra features like HDMI input and is not turned off when not in use, or it’s simply the overall system design is not optimized for low power consumption. The box will the lowest power consumption is Tronsmart Orion R68.

I also wanted to see if performing a given task, e.g. playing a 1080p 60 fps H.264 video, in different apps would yield different power consumption results, and in most cases Kodi consumes more power than MX Player in Android or “Movie & TV” app in Windows. The only exception being Chameleon where Kodi consumes a little less than MX Player. It’s probably not that important in TV boxes, but if you are watching videos on the go, Kodi may deplete your battery faster.

Finally, I also wanted to evaluate the cost of using the device, using the extreme case of playing Big Buck Bunny video 24 hours a day for 365 days in Kodi, and the case of playing it only 2 hours a day, with the 22 hours left in standby or power off. The costs are based on my electricity rate (4 Baht / KWh or about $0.1108 US per KWh):

365 Days / 24 Hours 2 Hours a Day
KWh Cost KWh Cost
MeLE PCG01 67.0 $7.43 8.8 $0.97
Zidoo X9 84.1 $9.32 9.4 $1.04
Open Hour Chameleon 45.6 $5.05 13.4 $1.49
Tronsmart Orion R68 45.6 $5.05 3.8 $0.42
Tronfy MXIV 59.1 $6.55 14.6 $1.61

From a cost perspective, there’s just over $4 difference between the best and worst device if the box plays a video continuously for a year, while if you watch videos for about 2 hours a day only, the maximum cost does not exceed $1.61 per year on Tronfy MXIV, and that’s provided you don’t disconnect the power supply after use. So it’s probably much more important to check out your TV and/or AV receiver power consumption than the one of your media player.

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MeLE F10 BT is a $20 Bluetooth Air Mouse and Keyboard

September 1st, 2015 6 comments

MeLE is mostly known as a manufacturer of Android TV boxes and air mice, and I use MeLE F10 Deluxe air mouse in all my Android mini PCs review, as even though it’s not perfect it does the job much better than an IR remote control, and is more convenient to use than a USB keyboard. The two MeLE air mouse I’ve purchased come with a 2.4GHz RF dongle that needs to be connected to a USB port of the device you want to control,  but now the company is now about to launch a Bluetooth model with MeLE F10 BT.

MeLE_F10_BT
MeLE F10 BT (RF01BL) specifications:

  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0 (CSR1011)
  • IR support – Yes, including IR learning function.
  • Buttons Life – About 100,000 presses
  • Sensors – G-sensor, Gyroscope
  • Keyboard – QWERTY keyboard
  • Battery – 2x AAA batteries (>30 days in standby mode)
  • Dimensions – 169x48x19 mm

MeLE_F10_BT_BatteryBeside Bluetooth connectivity, the function are about the same as MeLE F10 Deluxe with a game mode (MeLE TV boxes only), IR learning function, a QWERTY keyboard, and air mouse mode. However, the built-in battery has been replace with a compartment for two AAA batteries. MeLE F10 BT is compatible with Windows 7/8/10, Mac, Linux, and Android operating systems.

The latest MeLE air mouse will sell for $19.99 including shipping on MeLE Aliexpress store once it launches in the middle of September.

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